When I started drawing as a kid, it was almost always in pencil. I liked shading, and I liked being able to erase, and pencils were easy to come by (and even a sort of weird currency and point of pride, in elementary school—we had a fancy-pencil vending machine in the main hall).
Eventually, probably in highschool, I graduated to pens—darker lines, brighter contrast, none of that damned graphite smear effect. I’m talking about ballpoint pens, mind you, not nib-based pen-and-ink drawing tools. Just Uni-ball and Pilot jobs. (It wasn’t until much more recently that I began to experiment with nib pens and brush work, neither of which I’ve really gotten the hang of or kept steady at.)
The phrase “line-work” is a recent addition to my vocabulary. My drawing has traditionally been built up of thin, tentative lines scratched out with pencil or pen, so the idea of really accomplishing a lot of work with one pen/brush stroke is both conceptually and manually new to me—I’m just starting to think about it, and at the same time only now training some arm muscles to help execute that sort of thing.
I’m a hand-drawer, a fingers-drawer, is the thing. The ball of my hand rests firmly on the page when I’m drawing, and that’s a real pain when I want to do a nice big expressive line instead of a bunch of short little strokes. I’d like to learn to draw with my arm, but it’s hard, dammit. It’s like driving blindfolded. Where my fingers have gotten clever over the years, my arm is big and stupid and beastly.